Bolton Wanderers: Reserved
Last night I got in the car with my girlfriend, and with the promise of a pie and a brew, she drove us up to Leyland to watch the reserves (reet classy my lass). I say reserves, but I was there to watch one man.
Stu looked great in the 65 minutes he played. And I'm not just talking about how ridiculously ripped he's managed to get himself with a year in the gym. Despite it being his first bit of action since a League Cup tie at the start of last season, his positioning and tactical awareness was spot on, which is something I often find can go missing after long spells on the sidelines.
Every touch was superb, and every pass found it's man, even if it looked like it wouldn't. He just seemed to be able to think about his next move quicker than any other player on the park, and I think that his footballing intelligence is a big part of why he is such a top, top player. I was surprised at just how well he did play, even if it was against lesser opposition. It makes me think that once he's back to his best, we will have a struggle to keep him away from a Premier League club, even with his injury troubles.
Despite keeping a firm (if not unhealthy) eye on Holden throughout the game, there was several other reserve players that impressed. Josh Vela made his return after several months out himself, and if he can improve on what he did last night, there is no reason why he can't become a first team regular in the second half of this season. He's strong, has great vision, and is able to run directly with a decent amount of pace.
Tom Eaves, Jack Sampson, and Chris Lester were the others to catch the eye; all netting in the 3-0 victory. It appears like the academy and development structure in place at the club may finally be paying off.
One last thing about the reserves before I move onto other matters. If you haven't been down to the County Ground: do. It's great. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and whilst I imagine that the attendance was somewhat swollen due to the above mentioned American, it was a lovely atmosphere. It was refreshing after the boos and modern football hoo-ha of the Reebok Stadium, to visit a ground with an old-style turnstile and happy faces. The referee even told an fan to eff off after he disagreed with his decision. It was awesome.
So, other matters. We've signed Craig David, but you probably would already know that after days and days of speculation. Is this going to span a craze of wearing big chins and plastic kestrels to the Reebok? Only time will tell. I do hope that we get a better chant out of this perfect opportunity that 'Only One Craig Davies, etc. etc.'. Something like this:
Fitness work on Monday
Pushed it in the gym on Tuesday
Some recuperation time on Wednesday
But then scored for the Wanderers on Saturday
Chilled on Sunday...
...or whatever. You decide.